Wane keeps his Wigan Warriors stars on ice for semi-final
Shaun Wane will keep his key players on ice this Friday night ahead of their semi-final showdown the following week.
Captain Sean O’Loughlin and halfback Thomas Leuluai are not expected to face Hull FC.
And Wane says he will limit the involvement of full-back Sam Tomkins and hooker Sam Powell to protect them for the sudden-death clash against Castleford.
There is a chance Liam Farrell may return on Friday. He emerged from a gruelling contact session yesterday unscathed and – after several weeks on the sidelines with a shoulder injury – may get some game-time. Wane will make a call on him tomorrow.
He said: “Lockers won’t be risked, Tommy is very doubtful – I’m not going to risk anyone.
“Sam Tomkins and Sam Powell have been through the mill these last few weeks, so I’m going to look after them with game-time... they’ll not get long.
“But the team I put out will still be strong and I expect a performance. This is a different challenge because they have nothing to play for, and nothing depends on it.
“I understand it’s a big mental challenge but I want us to perform to a high standard and give fans a reason to cheer.”
Wane’s decision is likely to see Morgan Escare get plenty of game-time against Lee Radford’s FC. And Josh Woods may figure, having not played in the 13-6 win at Huddersfield despite getting a place on the bench.
Ben Flower (back) is still sidelined, though a semi-final return remains a possibility.
And, on a positive note, winger Liam Marshall has discovered his knee injury is not as serious as first suspected.
He is still expected to miss the rest of this season but his injury is not expected to eat into pre-season training.